Keeping Faith Real

Yesterday’s post addressed Satan’s tactic of messing with the body to destroy a man’s faith. Sickness, handicap, fleshly pleasure, addiction, etc all work for Satan to trip you up.

There is a tendency in modern “Christianity” to stress the spiritual, (positional) benefits of Christ above all else. Now, in saying this, I do not intend to say that the spiritual benefits of Christ should be diminished. Don’t take me there cuz I aint a travelin’ that way.

What I am saying is that Christ accomplished many great things for us, let’s not sell Him and His grace short. Here’s an example.

We stress the judicial declaration of righteousness in Christ. We celebrate that we are forgiven, made righteous, washed, made new, all the riches of Christ’s righteousness are imputed to our account. To which I say, “Amen!”

But then I say, “Since that’s true, you should be defeating sin in your life” and peoples’ heads explode. “I’ve been released from the law! Don’t try to put me back under it by saying I have to do stuff” is said in response.

I agree that we are not under Law, I also agree with the conclusions of that statement: the power or strength of sin is the Law, right? Yup. So if we’re not under Law we should increasingly be aware of not being under the power of sin, right? Not necessarily.

See, that bugs me! Christ did not die so we could go on sinning and just be happier about it. Christ died to free us from the power of sin even now.

Faith is very practical, it really is. Be careful not to put it in the clouds, keep it in heaven but apply it in this present world.

Ten Shekels and a Shirt

I came across this sermon (Ten Shekels and a Shirt by Paris Reidhead) from way back. Apparently I’ve lived in a hole or something because everyone who has heard it says this is a classic sermon, one everyone needs to hear.

So I found it online and gave it a listen. It’s pretty excellent! There’s some good ol’ fashion hell-fire preaching, but it’s all good. The basic premise is that we ought not use humanistic motivations to “sell” or respond to the Gospel.

You should download it and give it a listen.

Your Body and Your Faith

Satan thought that the way to get Job to take a tumble was to mess with Job’s body. “But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.”

Why did Satan assume this? Granted, he was wrong in this instance, but Satan knew that attacking a man’s flesh will likely get him to renounce his faith. Satan’s been around, he knows things about us.

Faith is easy until there’s a physical cost. That’s when we find out if it’s real or not. The Parable of the Sower makes this point: supposed faith dies out when life gets tough.

Although there are exceptions to every rule (except there are no exceptions to the rule that all rules have exceptions), what your body (flesh) goes through will determine the reality of your faith.

I believe this is why Paul says in Romans 12 that we are to “present our bodies as living sacrifices.” Paul does not make faith ethereal, floaty, mystical spiritism. Nope, he says it’s about your body being sacrificed.

I know this sounds out-of-place in our modern easy-believism, but it is Bible Truth.

Strong’s Concordance and Lexicon

Just found this cool deal. Here is a link to the online Strong’s Concordance and Greek and Hebrew Lexicon. This site allows you to type in a Strong’s number and find all the usages of that Hebrew or Greek word in the KJV. The KJV translates words differently and this is a great tool to find the full meaning of a word. It’s much quicker and easier on the wrists than using the huge books!

Practical Post-Millennialists

Post-millennialism, according to the last census, is held by only eight people now. They are a lonely group and yet very happy.

Post-millennialism says that Christianity will be a huge success, taking over the world, conquering Satan and once everything is running smooth as butter, Christ returns.

This view was invented in the 16th to 17th centuries. It was the mindset of Puritans and America being a shining city on a hill. The 20th Century was pretty rough and post-millennialists couldn’t quite hang on through two world wars, the great depression and disco music.

What amazes me today, however, is the number of pre-millennialists who act like post-millennialists practically. Here’s what I mean.

A major underlying theme of pre-millennialism is that Christianity fails, the world completely topples into horrible sin and the church sinks into apostasy. In other words: pessimists only need apply.

So, pre-millennialist believers think the rapture is, like right around the corner, what with Middle East tensions, UN cries for global currency, computer chip ID schemes and increased sightings of Elvis.

What these people never quite seem to grasp is that yes, all those things are a sure sign The End is coming (with the possible exception of Elvis sightings), but so is apostasy in the church.

Modern American Christianity is stinking happy. I mean, waaaaay too happy. God is in every parking spot, church ministries are practically heaven-sent, breathless anticipation of what God will do next are voiced constantly.

I don’t get it. It makes no rational sense. A sign of The End coming is that people will not endure sound doctrine, they will want to hear happy thoughts and will clamor to places that give em that.

The people who are not enduring sound doctrine are not Muslims, they are your church. They are us supposed believers. Christianity does not win. We go down in horrible flames.

This is one main reason I am a pre-millennialist (close second to: because it’s totally right): it’s just pretty much what’s happening.

Even so, come quickly.

Pharisees Were Right. . .

. . . occasionally.

Pharisees don’t have a good reputation. Granted this reputation is well-deserved! However, let’s think about them for a minute. Here are some things that Pharisees believed:

*There is one God
*He is the creator of the world
*There is a resurrection
*There is a heaven and a hell
*Scripture is their authority
*There are angels

Hey, not bad, better than most American Christians, in fact. The fact that they believed many true things didn’t mean they had the truth though.

This is something we need to be aware of in our day. Lots of people sound like they have truth, but listen for a while and you’ll soon be able to discern how much truth they have.

The Pharisees did believe Scripture was their authority, as long as you define “Scripture” as “my favorite parts of the Bible.” This same mindset has crept into modern faith as well.

Satan is a deceiver and a classic technique of his is to use snippets of truth, just leave out tiny bits of it. Watch out for that, it can destroy your soul.

Eschatology Matters

Lately there has been much discussion on the internets about End Times stuff, otherwise known as “eschatology.” The debate is over whether your view of The End really matters.

Should Christians that agree about the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ and the shedding of blood for the remission of sins divide over what order they think The End arrives in?

Basic consensus: it shouldn’t.

I guess I would disagree. I think it does matter and it is important enough to divide over, in my humble opinion.

How you interpret the Bible’s teaching on the coming kingdom shows a considerable amount of how you view Scripture. In order to maintain the “amillennial” view you have to conclude that about half of Scripture is spiritualized, allegory, and thus, God didn’t really mean what He said.

This bothers me. If a guy tells me that all that talk about Israel getting a kingdom was just made up, God didn’t really mean it, I will have a problem. What else did God not mean? The only thing God talks about as much as a coming kingdom on earth for Israel is the Gospel itself. Did God mean that part? How can we tell? Surely not by repetition.

Anyway, for further thoughts on it you can listen to my sermon from yesterday on Isaiah 2. If you disagree with me, fine, but don’t comment unless you listen to my sermon first!